The Dynamics of Cultural Integration – A Longitudinal Case Study on the Fertility and demand for maternity services of the two Communities in Northern Ireland using NILS

This research aims to gain a better understanding of how cultural mixing influences human behavioural diversity and individual and community well-being; the specific focus will be on fertility outcomes in the context of Protestant and Catholic communities in contemporary Northern Ireland.

There have been historical differences of fertility rates in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants and although this trend has recently started to reduce it is still present. There are both policy-related and academic debates on whether, when different cultural groups live in close proximity, cultural differences will decline (as individuals behavioural and attitudes change when exposed to new norms in their neighbourhood) or whether close proximity to other groups actually causes cultural differences to become h4er (perhaps due to real or perceived costs of interaction with another group).

This project intends to empirically investigate whether a specific cultural trait, in this case fertility at the individual and group level, can be predicted by area levels of religious homogeneity. Individual fertility for men and women will be estimated using the 1997-2008 NILS dataset and the 1991 census partial linkage data. Individual location variables at the SOA level will be obtained from the NILS, alongside contextual religious composition and SES data from the 2001 Census. In addition, internal migration data from the NILS will allow the detection of short term individual fertility changes due to differing levels of religious homogeneity.


Publications and Outputs:

Completion of a Phd became a priority within the team which meant that there was insufficient time to produce any final outputs from the project. The research project was not pursued as a Phd thesis but is something the researcher has expressed interest in returning to in the future.

Research Team: Antonio Silva
Database: NILS
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): University College of London